When I was a kid, I loved comic books. And many of my favorite comic book characters were featured in multiple comic book series. Batman was the main character in Batman, Detective Comics, Legends of the Dark Knight, and many one-off mini-series. The X-Men were featured in X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, X-Factor, X-Force, Excalibur, and Alpha Flight.
And the best thing a comic book fan could hope for was when the writers of each of the individual series collaborated on an ultra-super-giant-mega-story arc that would weave each of the series together into one awesome tale of total awesomeness. I’m thinking specifically of the “Knightfall” story in the Batman universe.
It’s a win for everyone. The writers get to team up with other writers to tell an epic tale. The reader gets to experience the excitement of such an event (plus, it appeals to our very human “collector’s mentality”). And the publisher benefits because readers have to purchase even more comics, perhaps even boosting subscriptions to some under-performing titles that were included in the story-arc.
So How Does All This Geekdom Apply to My Music?
YOU are a story! Your story is your life, your hopes, your bio, your friends, your enemies, your rivalries, your collaborations, the creation/recording/promotion of your music, touring adventures, setbacks, successes, superpowers, and Achilles’ heels.
And how do you tell it? In pieces. A blog-post here, an email there, a facebook event, a YouTube video, a twitpic, a live-performance, etc.
You see, you’re already like DC and Marvel Comics: you’ve got many modes for delivering the story of YOU.
But not every one of your fans will be following your story across every medium. When I was a kid, I subscribed to Detective Comics, but only purchased Batman or Legends of the Dark Knight when the cover art really enticed me or I knew it was the only way to read the complete, epic story I was already invested in.
So here is my suggestion: Tell your story to all your fans across all media, one bite at a time.
1) Come up with a campaign. Keep it focused enough so that the content you create relates to a single story-line (touring, the making of an album, preparing for a CD release, etc.), but grand enough that you will have LOTS to share.
2) Delegate responsibilities. If you have a band, let the best writer be your essayist. Make the AV-clubber the video production guy. Make the person with the iPhone the tweeter. Etc.
3) Then, coordinate an announcement on your blog, website, twitter account, facebook profile, YouTube page, and newsletter list all at once. Explain how over the next few weeks or months, you’ll be letting your fans get an inside look at the band in action, granting them intimate access to your processes, frustrations, adventures, etc. Let them know that you’ll be telling the story in pieces, through many modes, and that if they want the complete narrative they’ll have to follow you (or at least frequently check up) on all the various social media profiles and websites you inhabit.
If you’re really good at planning ahead, you could even let your fans know what schedule/order you’ll be keeping to tell the story. For instance: #1- email, #2- YouTube video, #3- tweet, #4- facebook, #5- blog post, #6- interactive website experience, #7- YouTube video, #8- blog post, #9- email, #10- tweet, #11- tweet, #12- facebook, #13- YouTube video, #14- Grand-finale on your website.
4) You’ve just boosted your subscribers, fans, friends, followers, what-have-you’s.
5) Now tell your story!
Oh, and tell us too. If you’ve tried this in the past or are currently involved in a similar promotional campaign, let us know how it is going in the comments section below.
-Chris “Comic Book Geek” Robley at CD Baby